Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Kenya Update - 12/4/07


• 8:30am – Willie picked me up at the BTL and we went over to the camp
o When I arrived I was greeted by Sylvester who had the look of a very busy, on task Youth Pastor who is in Camp Director mode…He is really trying his hardest to be organized, and run things smoothly and efficiently with his team…he really is doing a wonderful job!
o He welcomed me and said “are ready?’ and rushed me into a rocking church filled with young people from all over Kenya singing and praising God in Swahili…I didn’t understand a word of it (except one time I thought I heard the word Mutatu and I had flashbacks of my trip to Nairobi the other day – ha ha).
o As I stood there in the midst of these young people I was reminded again how incredible it is that our God doesn’t need an interpreter for His people…He knows our hearts, our words, our motives…everything!
o Sylvester introduced me and I was up and running with Session #1 where we looked at the story of Elijah and the 850 Evil prophets on Mount Carmel and that “little fire from heaven thing”…The students looked to be very intent as I was speaking, they really seemed to be trying to understand what I was saying…I’m not sure how much they really understood because they are at so many different levels with English…I just trust that God used my words to make sense to them in their hearts…Many of the leaders came up to me afterwards and said they really enjoyed it…I felt good about the talk overall.
o The teens then had about a 30 minute break and we were back into session #2 – where we looked at the sacrifice that Abraham was willing to make with his son Isaac…I told the teens that Abraham & Isaac is a picture of God’s love for us by sending His son for us to pay the penalty for our sin…I told them that God’s love for us is so incredible that He was willing to send His only son to people who are involved in the very thing he despises…SIN – what a picture…I then said that if Serena & Ethan were sitting in the service and a fire broke out each person better know where the exits are on their own, because, while I think they’re great and everything, I’m scooping up my kids and heading for the door…they laughed and laughed at that…then I said “Now God on the hand wouldn’t do that, his love is for all of us!” I think they got the point.
o After session #2 we all went out for games & group time…it was so much fun for me to watch them compete and work together in their teams…there are so many similarities between this camp and camps I’ve been involved in over the years…the teens want to have fun, they love being together and I was even starting to pick up some Swahili trash talking between the teams, it was very funny!
o Sylvester took me behind the scenes to see lunch being prepared and to meet the ladies of the church who were preparing it…they were so sweet and nice and you could tell they were making it because they wanted to play a part in helping the camp be a success for the kids.
o We had a mixture of meat, onions, cabbage and tomatoes with a side dish of Egali (sp?) which is corn that is ground up and stirred big time into a thick paste…it was very good.
o Sylvester and I then went into town to get a few things and it was so neat to see how everywhere he went people knew him, smiled at him, shook his hand and exchanged greetings with him…I could tell he makes it a point to build relationships in his community and people know and respect him for it.
o He took me into the interior of Ruiru which was even more intense than the things I saw the other day…I’m talking about extreme poverty (as if what I saw the other day was any less extreme)…It was really bad…I couldn’t bring myself to take any pictures because I was trying to take it all in myself and I didn’t want to offend anyone, but I really get the sense from Sylvester that he wants me to see his world and experience what he experiences so others can know and be moved to pray for his countrymen because they need Jesus so badly! As we walked along he was telling me stories about the people and the pain they know in their lives, and how their church has made such a difference in the lives of so many people in his town.
o We got back to camp and watched some more games, and I sat in the dirt and just talked with leaders about ministry, stories from the Bible, life in general and other leadership issues they are experiencing…it was a lot of fun to pick their brains about issues they face and share with them that there are a lot of similarities in what we do in the lives of young people…I think they were encouraged, I know I was!
o At 4pm I began the first part of the seminar that I am doing with the leaders…there were about 30 of them from all over Kenya who gathered together for a time of challenge, and skill development. I watched Sylvester nod with approval every time I made comments like “God has designed you uniquely”, “You’re not an accident”, “Teens need Godly role models, they’re watching every move you make”, and “As youth leaders, God wants us to be the most excellent leaders we can be”…He closed the session and really tried to hammer home the point to the youth leaders that they need to learn, develop, grow, and continue their education in youth ministry because God desires our very best as do the young people of Kenya! Man, he was passionate about that, and they really responded to him!
o After the session was over I sat under the BTC Tree and enjoyed a coke with a few of the teens and tried to take it all in…it was a good day! Thanks to all who have been praying!
o I’m going to head to bed, and get ready for another very full day of teaching and learning!

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